After a fabulously excessive break in Central America, I returned to school refreshed, renewed and relaxed. There were no thoughts of children, of students, of work, of stress or of NYC at all while we were gone. As if nothing existed north of the rainforest, we carried on about our vacationing business and had the time of our lives.
Fast forward (a bit too fast) to January 2nd, 2008. I am relaxed, rested and slightly tanned. I have climbed all five flights of stairs back to my room (which makes me smile as I realize that just 2 days before it was a volcano I was climbing) and I wait for my kids to come up. I am confident that they too have had peace and relaxation and are ready to turn over a new banana leaf just like I am. I smile as they enter. I thank them for their compliments on my newly bronzed skin. I bounce about the hallways gently reminding them to tuck in shirts with a smile instead of roaring "I tell you every single day to tuck this in! When will you learn?" as I had just two weeks earlier.
Morning homeroom is almost over but we still have 3 minutes. They have actually finished their morning duties early! Yes! I knew it! We've all changed this past week. Spring semester will be wonderful!
Then I make the mistake of asking them about their breaks. "What did you all do? Did you go anywhere interesting? Did you give or receive any neat gifts? Tell me something about your holidays"
"I saw my brother get wasted on Christmas Eve. It was mad funny because I've never seen him drunk before."
Does anyone have anything to share that doesn't involve alcohol?
"Yes! I went to the casino with my cousins!"
Someone in the back shouts to him: "Yeah, tell her the rest! Tell her about your 'beverages'!"
I glare and move on. "What about New Year's Eve? What did you guys do for New Year's Eve?"
"My sister let me drink champagne!"
Looks like vacation is over. Central America, with her warm temperatures, kind people and brilliant colors, is nothing but digital photos and memories. And on the bright side, my students are now with me and out of the hands of drunken family members.